NIH Library About Us Privacy Policy

Privacy Policy

Protecting your privacy is very important to the NIH Library.

Privacy Notice

The NIH Library (NIHL) does not collect any personally identifiable information (PII) about you during your visit to our Web site, unless you choose to provide it to us. However, we do collect some data about your visit to our Web site to help us better understand how our users use the site and how to make it more helpful. We collect information from visitors who read, browse, and/or download information from our Web site. NIHL never collects information for commercial marketing or any purpose unrelated to the NIHL mission and goals.

Types of Information Collected by the NIH Library

When you browse through the NIHL Web site, certain information about your visit can be collected. We automatically collect and temporarily store the following type of information about your visit:
  • The Domain from which you access the Internet.
  • The Internet Protocol (IP) address from your browser. An IP address is a number that is automatically assigned to a computer when surfing the Web.
  • The operating system you use, and information about the browser used when visiting the site.
  • The date and time that you access the library Web sites.
  • The pages that you visited.
  • The user name of any HSRL or remote users will be retained with the NIH EZproxy product manager.
  • Address of the Web site that connected you to an NIHL Web site (such as or

How the NIH Library Collects Information

The NIHL Web site uses a variety of different Web-based software tools to gather information about how users navigate and interact with our Web sites. These software tools collect the type of information outlined in "Types of Information Collected by the NIH Library." The Web-based software tools used by NIHL do not collect personally identifiable information (PII).

The Library occasionally uses online surveys to collect opinions and feedback from a random sample of visitors. The survey reports are available only to NIHL staff who evaluate Web site effectiveness, and other designated NIHL staff who require this information to perform their duties.

How the NIH Library Uses Cookies

The Office of Management and Budget Memo M-10-22, Guidance for Online Use of Web Measurement and Customization Technologies [PDF 103 KB] allows Federal agencies to use session and persistent cookies. When you visit any NIHL Web site, its server may generate a piece of text known as a "cookie" to place on your computer. The cookie allows the server to "remember" specific information about your visit while you are connected. The cookie makes it easier for you to use the dynamic features of Web pages. Cookies from NIHL Web pages only collect information about your browser’s visit to the site; they do not collect personal information about you.

There are two types of cookies that are collected by the library:
  • Session Cookies: We use session cookies for technical purposes such as to enable better navigation through our site. These cookies let our server know that you are continuing a visit to our site. The OMB Memo 10-22 Guidance defines our use of session cookies as "Usage Tier 1—Single Session." The policy says, "This tier encompasses any use of single session Web measurement and customization technologies."
  • Persistent Cookies: We use persistent cookies to enable a number of Web-based analytic tools. These tools allow us to differentiate between new and returning visitors. Persistent cookies remain on your computer between visits to until they expire. We also use persistent cookies to block repeated invitations to take the ACSI survey. The persistent cookies that block repeated survey invitations expire in 90 days. The OMB Memo 10-22 Guidance defines our use of persistent cookies as "Usage Tier 2—Multi-session without Personally Identifiable Information (PII)." The policy says, "This tier encompasses any use of multi-session Web measurement and customization technologies when no PII is collected."

How to Opt Out or Disable Cookies

If you do not wish to have session or persistent cookies placed on your computer, you can disable them using your Web browser. If you opt out of cookies, you will still have access to all information and resources at Instructions for disabling or opting out of cookies in the most popular browsers are located at Please note that by following the instructions to opt-out of cookies, you will disable cookies from all sources, not just those from

How Personal Information is Protected

You do not have to give us personal information to visit the NIHL Web site. However, if you choose to receive alerts or e-newsletters, we collect your email address to complete the subscription process.

If you choose to provide us with personally identifiable information (PII), for example, information in an e-mail message, request for information, or customer satisfaction survey, we will maintain the information you provide only as long as needed to respond to your inquiry. If we store your personal information in a record system designed to retrieve information about you by personal identifier (name, personal email address, home mailing address, personal or mobile phone number, etc.), so that we may contact you, we will safeguard the information you provide to us in accordance with the Privacy Act of 1974, as amended (5 U.S.C. Section 552a).

If the NIHL operates a record system designed to retrieve information about you in order to accomplish its mission, a Privacy Act Notification Statement should be prominently and conspicuously displayed on the public facing Web site or form which asks you to provide personally identifiable information (PII). The notice must address the following 5 criteria:
  1. NIHL legal authorization to collect information about you
  2. Purpose of the information collection
  3. Routine uses for disclosure of information outside of the NIHL
  4. Whether the request made of you is voluntary or mandatory under law
  5. Effects of non-disclosure if you choose not to provide the requested information
NIHL has implemented safeguards for information collected from any Web-based software tool or survey. The Library retains data collected from any Web-based software or survey for as long as the data is being analyzed. Data collected from tools are only available to library staff responsible for monitoring or evaluating the NIHL Web site, and other designated staff who require this information to perform their duties.

External Links

We provide links from our Web pages to external Web sites because they provide information that may interest our users. This is provided as a convenience only. External links do not constitute an endorsement or an approval by NIHL for any of the products, services or opinions of the corporation or organizations. NIHL is not responsible for the legality or accuracy of information on externally linked sites, or for any costs incurred while using externally linked sites.

Use of Third Party Applications

NIHL uses third party applications which have been approved for use by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). These include SurveyMonkey, FaceBook, YouTube, Woopra, Google Analytics, FlickR, Twitter, IdeaScale, and WordPress. The NIH Library also utilizes Bulk Email software to communicate with customers.  None of these products or services are government owned or government operated; however, NIHL's use of these applications are government operated. No personally identifiable information is sought or maintained from any of these third party applications. If users of the third party applications choose to provide anything they might consider personally identifiable information (PII), users should know that they may be providing non-governmental third parties with access to their PII. A link to the official NIHL Web site and this privacy policy is provided when the third party application makes it possible.

Copyright Restrictions Applicable to NIH Staff

Access to electronic resources is restricted to NIH staff as established in license agreements between the NIHL and the resources producers/vendors. NIH staff who use these resources are authorized to print or download full or partial results of searches for personal or internal business or research use, as governed by the terms of the resources license agreements. Users cannot share access with, perform searches for, or provide results to non-NIH users, i.e. collaborators at other universities or research centers. NIH staff is not authorized to distribute data retrieved from the resources in any form (printed, electronically relayed, posted to public list services or bulletin boards, or magnetically stored) to, or for the benefit of, anyone who is not NIH staff. Nor is NIH staff permitted to create derivative databases from the resources except as noted above. Restrictions vary according to the resources producers/vendors. Please ask the NIH Library's Information Desk for more information (301-496-1080).